Accused of hazing, Sigma Chi fraternity closed at USC

Sigma Chi was suspended from the University of South Carolina campus.
Sigma Chi was suspended from the University of South Carolina campus.

The University of South Carolina’s Sigma Chi chapter was closed by the international fraternity’s leaders after they learned members engaged in physical and mental abuse of pledges, officials said Wednesday.

The fraternity became aware of a “serious hazing incident” involving the USC chapter on March 24, Sigma Chi’s executive director, Michael Church, said in a statement. The fraternity immediately issued an interim suspension of the USC chapter while the matter was investigated, he said.

“The activities the chapter engaged in, including physical and mental abuse of its pledges, are grossly misaligned with everything the Sigma Chi International Fraternity stands for, and we are resolved to hold those individuals accountable,” Church said. “Hazing in any form has no place in our fraternity, our communities, or our society as a whole.”

Former Sigma Chi members will be required to move out of their Greek Village house by 6 p.m. Sunday, said USC spokesman Wes Hickman.

“We are investigating Sigma Chi’s finding of hazing to see if there are individual charges to be handled through the student conduct process,” Hickman said.

“USC takes seriously hazing behaviors of all types — off campus or on campus — including those related to mental or physical abuse, intimidation, undue mental fatigue or distress and activities that have foreseeable potentially dangerous or hazardous circumstances,” he said.

Sigma Chi is the the fifth USC fraternity chapter closed or suspended since fall 2014.

Beta Theta Pi is the only one of the 15 largest fraternities at USC that has a clean record in the past five years.

Andrew Shain contributed.

Cassie Cope: 803-771-8657, @cassielcope

USC fraternity

Five fraternity chapters have been suspended or closed at the University of South Carolina since fall 2014. The date of the action is in parentheses:

Sigma Chi (March 2016) - Closed less than a week after being suspended by the international organization. USC is looking into hazing allegations against former members, a university official said Wednesday.

Alpha Tau Omega (January 2016) - Closed by the national organization, citing unspecified violations and “deceptive communications,” according to The Daily Gamecock. The chapter was in the midst of regrouping after a previous suspension.

Pi Kappa Alpha (March 2015) - Suspended by the national organization after a pledge died from alcohol poisoning. The fraternity was reinstated at the end of 2015.

Kappa Sigma (November 2014) - Suspended until 2019 following hazing, alcohol and drug violations. Suspension was reduced, and the chapter reopened in January. The fraternity will spend a year on probation.

Delta Tau Delta (September 2014) - Suspended until 2018 after its third alcohol-related violation in three years.

Compiled by Andrew Shain